The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503Q is pretty wild. It contains the banging Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU paired with Nvidia’s mobile RTX 3080 in a very small package, and one that’s surprisingly lightweight. It’s the kind of laptop that makes you forget about the limitations of using a portable computer and instead look towards the possibilities. Just a joyous little beast to use almost all the time.
There’s two aesthetic variants of this laptop, dark grey and white, and I received the latter. The outer case is stippled with holes in linear patterns which grant peeks to a rainbow reflective surface underneath, and when open, even the white finish around the keyboard has a slight sparkle to it. To top it all off there's harsh and angular venting. It has that sports car vibe found so often with gaming tech, but it’s subtle enough that it can pull off an office desk, so long as the boss doesn’t look too closely.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Mobile
GPU memory: 8GB GDDR6
Memory: 16GB DDR4
Screen: 1440p, 165Hz IPS
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Battery: 90WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, Ethernet port, microSD reader, 3.5mm audio jack, HDMI 2.0b
Dimensions: 5.5 x 24.3 x 1.99 cm
Price: $3,899 AUD, £2,500 GBP or ~$2,500 USD for similar
The Zephyrus G15 is also nicely versatile. Given the grunt under the hood, it’s not much of a surprise that the G15 is pretty deft at handling most basic tasks. The software package included is your standard Windows 10 home, which is what most people will be after until Windows 11 comes out (which this laptop should support just fine). Still, it handles all the easy stuff like web browsing, video watching, and word documenting like a breeze.
It also comes with Asus’s own installs and despite feeling certain I opted out during setup, I still wound up with McAfee Anti-Virus and then had to spend nearly an hour waiting for it to uninstall. It wasn’t a great start to the experience but it is fairly par for the course for many laptops at the moment who bundle this in.
But this is a gaming laptop, and this site isn’t called PC Office Worker, so we had to try some games, especially with these fancy guts, and it did not disappoint.
Every game I tried felt really good. I loaded up Valheim and turned up the specs, long overdue after being frustrated by my older PC’s performance. I braced when the blizzards hit my mountain base, expecting the usual slow down and jagged performance, but was met with smooth sailing, even after hours of misguided building in the snow. The fans do sound a bit like they’re putting the work in, but it’s a clean airy sound and the laptop itself felt totally oblivious to it in all other ways.
After something a little more ray tracing specific, I loaded up Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition. The way the light beams through the broken subway in the early, theme establishing moments of the game brought about an extra eerie touch. Fire reflecting off the gun and snow was also very welcome in setting the mood. This was the best I’ve ever seen Metro look, and again the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503Q seemed totally unfazed by it. The RTX 3080 under the hood working wonders, even with an 80W TDP, although that can increase to 100W with Dynamic Boost.
In benchmarking, the numbers do a fairly good job of speaking for themselves. It sits pretty firmly in the high end gaming laptop realm, lower than some, higher than most, and does a pretty good job of handling itself. None of it really blows anything else out of the water but it’s a great high tier all-rounder when it comes to performance. Again, the laptop really didn’t seem that bothered while running any of these tests.
But I think that’s why this little beast feels as good as it does to use. Often when using laptops and even desktop PCs there’s that moment where you worry you might be pushing it a bit far. I’ve had this G15 tackle some pretty heavy stuff and even when it’s working hard it never feels like it is. There’s no stuttering and I can’t recall noticing any performance dips that have stuck with me. It just manages like an absolute trooper.
And it helps that the rest of the package feels like it backs this up. The screen is very nice to look at. It’s quite rich and the 165hz display combined with Adaptive Sync really does have things looking and playing buttery smooth. It’s just a shame that despite looking more than bright enough indoors it does not do well outside. I tried to play some games under cover on my patio during a sunny day and just couldn’t see well enough to make it work, even plugged into power. With a laptop this capable and light for gaming on the go, this was actually my biggest complaint. But, like I say, it wasn’t something I noticed indoors at all.
The keyboard also surprised me with how nice it is to use. I expected to want to plug a separate one in, but it was actually fine, even for gaming. It keeps a familiar desktop style layout with useful function buttons for volume and brightness. Plus the keys are nice and responsive without being too loud, striking a nice balance for a work and play machine. Even the touchpad is quite ample, though I’ll still be using a mouse. Thankfully, there are two USB 3.2 Type-A ports and two USB 3.2 Type-C ports to accommodate. It does follow the current trend of not including a webcam and having more screen real estate, so you might need one of those.
I did miss the webcam when I tried streaming. The laptop handled running Xsplit and Hades to stream live, absolutely no problem, but I was at a loss for webcam capture. I used the onboard mic and speakers (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1025593908, if curious) which picked me up very well without picking up its own game sounds. The mic gets a bit tinny on the high end but the clarity is absolutely there. The six speaker setup is backed by Dolby Atmos and I was constantly surprised by how good it sounded for a laptop.
Perhaps the only other hardware let down here is that the fingerprint reader is sassy and often makes me wish I’d never set it up.
And of course, there’s the price. Gaming laptops aren’t cheap and the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503Q is no exception. It will set you back $3,899 AUD or £2,500 GBP, or you can get a similar model in the US for between about $2,000-$2,500 USD. Given how hard it is to fault, however, it may just be worth it.